About this icon's image: The names of the Department's six academic areas for graduate training in 2012.



1947 - 1960

When FSU came into being in 1947, the Psychology Department's primary academic expertise was in Experimental and Clinical Psychology. In 1952, the State Board of Education approved the Department's offering of the Ph.D. in Psychology, and our first doctorate was awarded in 1953 to Robert Hattwick for research on human dark adaptation (Howard Baker, major professor). This was only the second doctoral degree awarded by FSU. In 1954, the American Psychological Association accredited our Clinical program for graduate training, and in 1958-59 the National Institute of Mental Health provided a significant grant for graduate training in School Psychology. Our School Psychology program included a strong emphasis on behavioral methodology. Beginning in the 1950s, the Department's three areas of graduate research and training, Experimental, Clinical, and School psychology, largely dictated both faculty hiring and the organization and content of the graduate and undergraduate curricula.

1960 - 1980s

In the mid-1960s, our Experimental Psychology program began to change when some of its faculty obtained substantial support for graduate training and research in the newly developing field of Psychobiology. Funding from the National Institutes of Health and from the National Science Foundation provided support for a large new research building, additional faculty and staff and technical support personnel, and fellowships for graduate and postdoctoral students. From its inception, FSU's Psychobiology Program was interdisciplinary, being a joint program of faculty and students in Psychology and the Department of Biological Sciences.

The Department expanded greatly beginning in the mid-1960s, hiring many new faculty members in all its established training program areas. Also, several faculty with expertise in social psychology were hired with the goal of adding a graduate training program in Social Psychology. Although that program did not formally come into existence until the late 1990s – early 2000s for reasons recounted in Jack Brigham's History of the Social Psychology Program (below), the faculty attracted and trained several excellent graduate students in social psychology over the years.

1980s - Present

In the late 1980s, the Department undertook a major re-structuring of its graduate training programs. These changes reflected both new scholarly emphases nationally, and our intention to be positioned more favorably as a natural science department in the College of Arts & Sciences. In this re-structuring, our long-running School Psychology and Experimental Psychology programs were abandoned and reconfigured as two new programs - Cognitive & Behavioral Science, and Psychobiology/Neuroscience. These new programs joined Clinical Psychology as the three major graduate training programs offered at that time. Eventually, the Cognitive & Behavioral Science program was reconfigured to better accommodate the expertise of several faculty, and today's Department is organized into five major areas of doctoral training: Clinical, Neuroscience, Cognitive, Social, and Developmental psychology, and an innovative Masters Program with a specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis. Several Psychology faculty played key roles in establishing the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) in 2002, which has continued to offer new training opportunities for graduate students in Psychology and is a significant development in the Department's recent history. A history of FCRR, including its links with Psychology and the earlier School Psychology Program, is also provided below.

Specific Programs

Clinical Psychology 1954 - 2008

Psychobiology & The Program in Neuroscience 1964 - 2005

School Psychology 1958 - 1989

Applied Behavior Analysis Mid-1950s - 2012

Social Psychology 1969 - 2002

Cognitive Psychology Mid-1980s - 2012

The Florida Center for Reading Research 2002 - 2012



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